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Old 11-10-2009, 07:27 PM
 
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I've been getting good naan from numerous places in Arlington since around 1992.

As far as regional specialties, true, I can't think of anything the DC area is known for. Virginia is traditionally known for Virginia ham.
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Old 11-10-2009, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Dudes in brown flip-flops
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alicia Bradley View Post
Where, specifically, in the Midwest have you spent time, Stephen? (This question is compounded by the fact that the term "Midwest" is so ill-defined, generally speaking.) Ever been to Chicago, for instance? I think Chicago's best Indian restaurants put D.C.'s to shame, honestly. And just because a restaurant focuses on a non-American cuisine doesn't make it "foodie" - I've been to some Korean-run Chinese places around here that are just gross. (And, I shouldn't have to beat this into the ground, but, yes, there are plenty of totally *awesome* immigrant-run Asian restaurants around here.) I suggest you check out the chowhound boards yourself if you doubt that there amazing immigrant restaurant communities in many Midwestern cities.
I agree that not every non-American restaurant is a foodie destination, just as I'm sure you will agree that not every independent coffee house or bakery is worthy of the label.

I've spent time in Wisconsin (Madison and Milwaukee) and been to Indiana (South Bend and Indianapolis). Indisputably Midwestern cities. And with the exception of Madison, my friends complained about the lack of ethnic dining options.

I know Chicago has a great dining scene of all kinds. But the Midwest is more than Chicago, and in my friends' experiences, large parts of the Midwest do not hold up to this area in terms of ethnic food. There may be Hmong in Wichita serving Hmong and Vietnamese cuisine (I realize that was Leighland's post and not yours), but how is the Ethiopian there? The Korean tofu stew? The pollo a la brasa?

I absolutely believe you that there are things that Midwestern cities do better than this area. I know Italian and Mexican are weak points around here. But my interpretation of your statements is that you believe there is absolutely nothing that this area does better than the Midwest food-wise, even excluding Chicago, and I guess we can agree to disagree on that point.
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Bethesda, MD
658 posts, read 1,207,709 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leighland View Post
I think the Foodie Culture doesn't grow here quickly because people who are involved in Foodie move out of the area quickly. Like anyone else here, foodie people probably have a large population of people who live here 3 years max then move out.
I'm surprised Alicia hasn't mentioned the atrocious supermarkets here. Safeway and Giant are just horrible. But I also found that the Kroger/Albertson brands is Philly/RI to be absolutely terrible too (rotten meat regularly, lackluster/small variety of fruits-veggies, etc..). This is not the case in the Safeway/Albertson/Kroger stores in the MidWest-West and I'm simply dumbfounded as to why. The Whole Foods here is also very limited and has hardly the quality or diversity of its MidWest-West counterparts. What most longtime residents here fail to realize is Wegmans is a step above a normal Vons or Guinardis (sp?). If it was anywhere but the East Coast, It would not be that special. We have had many discussions on this in the General Forums.
Lastly Steven 81, I think you would be absolutely shocked at the variety and range of MidWest-West restaurants. In Chicago, there is a Koreatown/Little India/Little Pakistan/Little Sweden just for starters. I can name the best Pho hole in the wall on the Northside. And of course, the very high end restaurants such as Charlie Trotters. I think you would also be surprised at the food offerings on Wichita KS south side-large Hmong population. This is in the MidWest alone.
The diversity and numbers of those restaurants are simply not in DC. They will never be until DC develops a population that stays/ settles permanently in the area.
To compound this problem is there are a plethora of Steak joints here. 6 Ruths Chris' in the Metro area! There's only 2 in all of San Diego County! And I know why. All the players in DC like to do there political business over lunch at steakhouses (ex: Want to see a high placed Senator? Eat Lunch at Charlie Palmers) DC is simply not like any other city-esp. foodwise.
Agreed, I grew up in the Chicago and Detroit 'burbs and sorely miss the amazing produce options that were plentiful in the Great Lakes region. Even Meijers, (inventor of the 24 hour super center) had an extensive produce selection that I've yet to find something in DC to compare to.

DC/NOVA/MD does excel at having an abundance of ethnic food, particularly Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese but I think the range of some of New American/Fusion still needs improvement. The transient nature of the area also has not helped as there seems to be an ambundance of local chains (Clydes, Jaleo, La Madeline) and a limited number of locally owned places or even places that are unique to a particular neighborhood. Hopefully, this will improve in the near future.
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Old 11-10-2009, 11:48 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
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Originally Posted by leighland View Post
I'm surprised Alicia hasn't mentioned the atrocious supermarkets here. Safeway and Giant are just horrible.
Really? You think so? I've been nothing but very pleased and impressed by my local Giant in Reston's Northpoint district. I've even been tossing around the idea of picking up a second job there so I can afford to turn the heat on.
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Old 11-10-2009, 11:52 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
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Originally Posted by Alicia Bradley View Post
If NoVA had half this many local coffee joints, I'd be in heaven!
Reston has about 187 Starbuck's locations.
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 17,891,885 times
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Foodies might enjoy checking out Edible Chesapeake. They have a free monthly magazine, recipes for using local foods, calendar of local food and beverage events (with an emphasis on sustainable foods), and of course restaurant reviews.
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrippingJay View Post
The transient nature of the area also has not helped as there seems to be an ambundance of local chains (Clydes, Jaleo, La Madeline) and a limited number of locally owned places or even places that are unique to a particular neighborhood. Hopefully, this will improve in the near future.
I think you've hit it on the nose. The transient nature of the population right now encourages chains. People get stressed out by moving, and they want to eat in a place they recognize. In time the dust will settle. The truly transient people will move on and those that settle in will start becoming rooted in their communities. As those roots grow, people spend more time patronizing local places, as well as opening places of their own. People who open their own little coffee shops, etc. tend to have shops near their homes--thus the suburbs start filling in and become more and more like little villages.
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:01 AM
 
5,716 posts, read 5,756,964 times
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Originally Posted by normie View Post
I think you've hit it on the nose. The transient nature of the population right now encourages chains. People get stressed out by moving, and they want to eat in a place they recognize. In time the dust will settle. The truly transient people will move on and those that settle in will start becoming rooted in their communities. As those roots grow, people spend more time patronizing local places, as well as opening places of their own. People who open their own little coffee shops, etc. tend to have shops near their homes--thus the suburbs start filling in and become more and more like little villages.
Considering that I've lived here for 45 years, when do you think this will happen? It has happened yet and, certainly, there were times when this area was much less transient than it is now.
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Dudes in brown flip-flops
660 posts, read 1,025,876 times
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Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
Considering that I've lived here for 45 years, when do you think this will happen? It has happened yet and, certainly, there were times when this area was much less transient than it is now.
I'm not sure it will, either. The trend everywhere the last several decades has been towards chain restaurants. Absent a major shift in how we build/plan communities and in consumer preferences, I think chains will remain a fixture of Northern Virginia, especially outside the Beltway, for the foreseeable future.
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:27 AM
 
4,504 posts, read 5,108,200 times
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Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
Considering that I've lived here for 45 years, when do you think this will happen? It has happened yet and, certainly, there were times when this area was much less transient than it is now.
How many parts of the country - AB's efforts to recast the Midwest as Umbria or Provence notwithstanding - really have a strongly embedded "foodie" culture, anyway?

It seems to me that, for that culture to thrive, you need to have an area where enough folks have money, time, and ready access to the right ingredients. Do people here have, or feel like they have, the time to linger over meals like foodies in SF, NY or Cambridge? I really like all the ethnic options here, but confess that part of the reason I like them is that they are quick and usually not too expensive. Four Sisters, good as it is, is not Per Se.
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